In Residence

Hot on the tail of Mark’s “Cooking For One” post, I wanted to chime in with the perspective of cooking for one in my very particular situation: at an artist residency, in a shared kitchen, in a foreign country, as a vegan.  I been fortunate to have the time and space to reflect and observe my habits a lot in the last couple of weeks. I noticed that when we arrived, and I was somewhat stressed with jet lag and a new situation, my eating habits tended toward satisfying cravings, comfort food, and quick fixes–such as fast pastas and a lot of bread and carbs in general.  As I grew more comfortable in my situation, my attention turned toward my health and I realized I needed to put more care (and fresh fruits and veggies) back into my diet.

Here are a lovely breakfast fruit salad and luncheon sammich chock-full of veggies, herbs and slathered in Dijon mustard with soda water and juice.

We’ve also continued eating meals together in a group.  Often, people happily eat vegan food we prepare together, such as this tom yum soup made from scratch by Julie. She kindly made it with veggie stock and had fish sauce available for the non-vegs and tamari for the veg-heads.  It was delicious and I was fortunate to get to eat it again as leftovers.

It helps that there is another vegetarian in the group.  If the main meal involves meat, then we whip up some sort of veggie something and a veggie salad, which everyone can eat.  Last night Julie made lamb (very prevalent in Iceland) and polenta and sauteed mushrooms.  She saved out some polenta for me (and added cheese to it for everyone else) and made the mushrooms vegan so I could partake.  I made these yummy sauteed veggies (a lot of zucchini, garlic, onion and tomato) with fresh thyme and A LOT of paprika, which I have been putting on everything since returning from Hungary in March.  A splash of red wine in with the olive oil made it really flavorful.

Communal eating with new friends in a foreign country is a wonderful opportunity to get to know some new recipes and share food with fascinating people.  I have found that if I am as considerate as possible concerning my dietary preferences and values, people are generally very respectful and accommodating.  Skál!  (Cheers!)

I’m sure you’ll hear more from Mark in the next few days on how he’s fairing without me (poor guy… *wink*).  Next up from me: more eating out adventures around Iceland- in and outside of Reykjavík.

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